Coronavirus Pandemic Creates Stress, Mental Illness for Workers

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Mental health experts say depression and stress are endemic to the ongoing challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis. “This pandemic is making workers angry, depressed and anxious,” according to William D. Hasek, a clinical psychologist in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Hasek said there are many reasons for worker stress including uncertainty about health care coverage and mounting bills as businesses are forced to close in order to keep people safe.

Mental health professionals who are front-line responders in the spill predict a spike in demand for their services as millions of Americans face the prospect they could be cooped up in their homes for weeks.

“We were all living our lives and going to work and then all of a sudden now we don’t have any control,” said Hasek. “This sudden loss of control is an adjustment for everyone.”

A tracking poll by the Kaiser Foundation, conducted March 25 to 30, found that 45 percent of adults say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19 percent say it has had a “major impact.” The rates are slightly higher among women, and Hispanic and African American adults, the survey found.

A nationwide psychological concern is not comforting at all, but it might be calming to know that if a worker is scared, anxious, depressed, struggling to sleep, or just on edge, the person is not alone.

Nearly half of Americans, 48 percent are anxious about the possibility of getting COVID-19, and nearly four in 10 Americans (40 percent) are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus. But far more Americans, 62 percent are anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus. This is according to a new national poll recently released by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

More than one-third of Americans, 36 percent say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health and 59 percent feel it is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives. Most adults are concerned that the coronavirus will have a serious negative impact on their finances (57 percent) and almost half are worried about running out of food, medicine, and supplies. Two-thirds of Americans, 68 percent fear that the coronavirus will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.

Hasek suggests that we need to do what we can to maintain self-care and manage the stress. “To combat the anxiety and stress, I suggest that individuals help neighbors in need and get plenty of exercise.”.

Hasek also points out that the other negative impact of the virus is an unfavorable stigma against Asian people because of the pandemic’s China origin. “We need to work together and communicate with family and friends through all the technology available to us.”

Health experts also warn that many depression and mental health issues have not been identified because some people are not comfortable with tele-therapy. “I think the floodgates will open and we’ll see many more workers contacting mental health experts as the virus slows and workers can see experts in person,” Hasek said.

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